The outside temperature starts to drop, and summer is coming to an end. True cheese lovers already get a little itch when we think of the special cheese that is coming…
Old traditions are preserved in the making of the Mont d’Or, a real seasonal cheese. In the summer the cows graze high in the mountains and produce a lot of milk. In the winter they are taken to the warm stables where the milk production is too low to make the large cheeses, so the smaller Mont d’Or is made from it.
The hilly meadows of the Jura are in the east of France. This wooded mountain range is located on the border with Switzerland. The Mont d’Or has a protected status (AOC) in both Switzerland and France. The Swiss use Vacherin Mont d’Or, whereas the French speak of Mont d’Or or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs. It does not matter to the farmers as they essentially make the same cheese.
The Mont d’Or cheese is special and that has everything to do with the recipe and the maturation. Only milk from the Montbeliard cows, fed on grass and hay, is used. In addition to that, the cows must live at least 700 meters above sea level. Also, for just 1 litre of cheese you need at least 7 litres of milk, meaning that there needs to be a lot of cows in order the make the cheese! The cheese smells strongly of resin, potatoes and mushrooms. This smell comes mainly from the spruce wood ring that is placed around the cheese to keep it in shape. Before being ready to serve up, the cheese is matured for 21 days on shelves made of similar spruce.
Mont d’Or can be eaten at room temperature, but we prefer to serve it warm with a touch of garlic, especially on a cold winter night.
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